5 things we learned as Bruins collapse in third period vs. Sabres

DJ Bean
December 26, 2015 - 4:34 pm
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It had been so long since the Bruins were in first place that neither the players nor the fans at TD Garden knew how to behave when such a scenario appeared possible. After a third-period David Krejci goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 and positioned the B'€™s to leapfrog Montreal atop the Atlantic Division, fans began doing the wave. What would come next would make the fans'€™ actions redundant, as a wave of Buffalo goals spoiled what could have been an easy win. First, Ryan O'€™Reilly scored to cut Boston'€™s lead to one. Then Jack Eichel scored to tie the game. Then Jamie McGinn gave Buffalo scored to cap a run of three goals in 4:03. Minutes later, an empty-netter from Eichel and another from O'€™Reilly sealed the victory for the Sabres, who left with a 6-3 win as Boston let two points slip away. With an assist on a first-period Evander Kane goal and O'€™Reilly'€™s empty-netter, Eichel finished the game with a career-best four points. The Bruins will have Tuukka Rask in net on Sunday in Ottawa as they try to stop their two-game losing streak. Here are four more things we learned: KRUG HAS SHORT NIGHT The Bruins had to play most of the night with five defensemen, as Torey Krug came up lame after a first-period foot-race and did not take another shift. Krug left the ice after his fifth shift, which ended at 12:04 of the first period. The Bruins did not specify his injury as they announced in the second period that the defenseman would not return to the game. The Bruins did not provide an update on his status following the game. Courtesy of Stanley Cup of Chowder, here is video of Krug'€™s last shift:

If Krug is to miss any time, Joe Morrow would likely jump back into the lineup. POWER PLAY RESURFACES, BUT DOESN'€™T SCORE The Bruins actually got some power play time on Saturday, something they learned recently is not guaranteed on a nightly basis. The B'€™s went without a power play in Tuesday'€™s game and did not have a 5-on-4 man advantage in their last two games entering Saturday. That streak was mercifully broken up in the first period when a Josh Gorges penalty for boarding Brett Connolly gave the B'€™s a first-period power play. That man advantage yielded some strong chances for the Bruins'€™ second unit, with Zdeno Chara hitting a post, but the two minutes proved ultimately fruitless. The B'€™s also failed to score on a second-period power play that followed a Gorges interference penalty. With Krug out, David Krejci played the point for the entire power play, holding down his usual spot on the first unit and replacing Zdeno Chara on the second unit, as Chara took Krug'€™s spot with the top group. In going without a power play goal Saturday, the Bruins have now gone three straight games without scoring on the man advantage, something they also experienced earlier in the month. Of course, the Bruins have had just four power plays the last three games, so it would be quite the stretch to sat their power play is actually struggling. BELESKEY'€™S LUCK CHANGES Matt Beleskey is shooting pretty much just as much as he was last season, when he scored 22 goals in 65 games. Yet he had just four goals entering Saturday, two of which came off passes that inadvertently hit players and went in. With Beleskey having extremely bad luck with shooting (his 6.2 shooting percentage at the break ranked 237th among 309 NHL forwards with at least 25 games played this season), he was able to find the back of the net by redirecting a Kevan Miller shot past Chad Johnson in the second period for his fifth goal of the season. Beleskey now has two goals off passes, two off redirects and one from actually shooting the puck into the net. He should have better number than he does, but he'€™s still on pace for a career-high 40 points. KREJCI GETS BACK TO SCORING David Krejci had gone 11 games without a goal entering Saturday, but an impressive display of hand-eye coordination changed that. Krejci got to 10 goals on the season by batting the rebound of his own shot past Johnson to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. Given that he continued to put up points during his goal-less stretch (seven assists), Krejci is now on pace for 77 points, which would surpass the career-high 73 he put up in the 2008-09 season.